Saturday, 13 December 2008

NZ vs West Indies – University Oval, Dunedin – Day Three

I’m still not sure about these ‘scheduled’ midday starts.  I’m just back from the ground now, and it’s 8.45pm.  That’s far from a perfect time to get back to the hotel.  Sure, there was some overtime today and we played till 8pm, but I don’t know if they need to have us starting so late.

Arrived at the ground this morning to be greeted by a helicopter hovering above the outfield.  Not the normal thing to be seeing and we knew ‘Stanford’ wasn’t in town, so it could only mean one thing, the outfield is still wet.  Someone forked out some cash to quicken the drying process up.  Nice job!  It still couldn’t do the job to get the game started on time, although that may have taken 30+ deg and a good strong breeze to have done anymore.  The grounds men think it speed up the drying time by about five hours, which means, if they hadn’t of used it, we wouldn’t have played at all today.

Start time delayed till 2.45pm after consultations and inspections all day.  It’s a tough situation to be in, yes we want to play cricket, yes we could have played cricket a little earlier, but...  The outfield was still damp and a little ‘splashy’ in parts too.  This means at least two things, player safety and the state of the ball if it gets ‘wet.’  No one wants anyone slipping and pulling up injured and it isn’t fair if the ball gets wet either for the bowling team.  We do everything we can to keep that thing as dry as possible so that it keeps its hardness and its ability to swing.  One puddle and it takes a few overs to get those properties back.

So a 2.45pm start and 65 overs to get through in the day.  My day didn’t really start till after tea.  It was me up to bat.  Mills had just been given out using the ‘referral’ system, something that is quickly going down like a lead balloon in our changing room.  We’ve now had two against us and one turned down when we were fielding.  I expect a few short ones, but not as many as I got today.  Edwards was bowling from one end and Taylor from the other.  First couple of balls from Edwards I dug out a couple of Yorkers.  And that was about that for balls in my half.  The next few either hit me or whizzed past my head.  The first short one, the most important one as it will dictate how they bowl from there, I duck it and it doesn’t get up as much as I though, either that or I didn’t get down quick enough.  It hit me hard on my left shoulder blade.  A quick groan and I thought “damn it, I ain’t showing nothing” so I got straight back up and looked right back at him.  Normally when you hit a tail ender you check to see if they’re ok; nothing of the sort out here today.  That’s fine with me, it’s locked away.  Next ball bouncer, I get under this one pretty well, pop straight back up and looked back at him.  Edwards follow through was getting longer and longer.  Getting closer and closer to me, and not to see what I was going to be doing for tea!  Eventually I got a fullish one which I hit just about as well as I’ve ever hit a cricket ball, through wide mid on all the way to the fence.  I can tell you, I’ve never felt better about getting off the mark before, it had been a while.  And that really was the end of anything in my half.  It was just bouncers now.  At one point I pointed at the stumps and said, “Have a go at those.”  Edwards replied, “I’m having too much fun to worry about them.”  Ok, cool!

One short ball after another and I’m not the best with them.  I eventually had one that I popped up back to Edwards trying to keep it off my nose.  I had ducked and weaved most of the ones before and was very angry with myself for not getting under this one, instead I tried to fend it away.  Not good enough, still got a lot of work to go there. 

So we’re all out and Dizzy has a new high score.  We’re out in the park with about an hour’s play, if the light holds. It wasn’t great while I was out there, and it certainly hadn’t got any worse in the changeover.  It soon actually got better with the sun coming out for the first time in the day.  I’m not saying it was warm, but it was nice to see some sun.  Hopefully it will be out for a while tomorrow.  In saying that we have worked out that, down here, when the sun is out the pitch plays quite flat, and with some cloud cover it does a little bit more off the deck.  So, some sun and some cloud will be nice, as long as it’s warmer that it was today!


Anonymous said...

A shame Ryder couldnt go on to that elusive ton! It seems like everyone in the NZ team is having a bit of trouble going past that mark at the moment. How, Ryder, McCullum, Redmond, Flynn all in the recent past. Hopefully at McLean Park!!

Unlucky not to get a wicket before the end of play, Gillespie bowled really well, impressed with his return.

Also, what did you make of that Mills vs Chattergoon LBW appeal that was referred? Obviously it was quite high but I thought it was easily going to hit the top of the stumps, and I thought it had the same degree of doubt as the Flynn decision...for consistency sake I thought Koertzen should have given it, if the 3rd man isnt consistent, the whole system falls down.

I thought you bowled well, atleast in that second over. You seemed to have Gayle in a spot of bother. Hopefully you guys rip through their top order and you get a bowl at Mr Edwards tomorrow...I hope you fire up and get him hopping about. Knock his head off Iain!!!

Good luck champ!

Anonymous said...

Well batted today Iain

Gayle will get out slogging tommorow and the rest will wilt in the sub zero temperatures.

Can we bowl them out twice in two days tho???

Fire up and knock em over mate cos i guarantee Mills and Mark "Cartman" Gillespie won't do it

Davec said...

From Cricinfo:

113.6 Edwards to O'Brien, FOUR, what a shot! A perfectly timed drive passed mid-on and that's as good a shot as we've seen today

Well done. Just remember not to overdo the bouncers yourself...

netrunrate said...

Hi Iain,

I am really excited to see your performance tomorrow. I am an Indian but a true Blackcaps fan. You know what, I am the biggest blackcaps fan on the earth (my friends say that).

I hope you get a 5-fer or more tomorrow.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Good writing Iain and we are really admiring the fight you bring to your game. It's a shame that some of your team mates dont put the same effort into trying to just not get out.

As for the bowling, I agree with Davec, dont over do the bouncers, give him a couple and then just try to get him out.

This is the best sports reading on the net at the moment just for its sheer honesty. You write a lot like Simon Hughes.

mandakini said...

I've always loved cricket, and had wondered how it would be if a cricketer ever blogged about it -- we'd get to see a game of cricket through his eyes. Now I know :) Great blog! And I can't wait to see the result of your duel with Edwards. I hope you get a whole bunch of wickets!

Anonymous said...

Didn't think you were moving your blog Iain...........

Iain O'Brien said...

It's still here, isn't it??

crazystu said...

Taylor's (sadly of the Jerome variety and not the playing-across-the-line™ one) century was amazing to watch. I always thought he could bat and how typical that his first big innings came against New Zealand =( Bad luck on only getting the 1 wicket but it was the big one of Gayle who was looking in great touch. Sadly I thought Gillespie was poor with the ball and Martin would of been a better selection. I'm now watching Sehwag demolish England =D. Good luck for tommorrow Iain.

Anonymous said...

Hello Iain, and congratulations on your first 5 wicket haul! Great to see an NZ pace bowler steal the show.

Best of luck for the rest of the test match, hopefully the next 8 wickets fall reasonably quickly today. Maybe a 10 wicket match in the making??

p.s let's hope we see you in the one-day team in a few weeks time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain

I was very impressed by your handling of Edward's short pitched bowling.
I was even more impressed by your delivery to get him out in the next test, it was beautiful.